Though Speaker McCarthy was able to successfully kick Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell off of the House Intelligence Committee because of their past indiscretions, he is having more difficulty rallying the support necessary to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
There’s one roadblock in particular that McCarthy is facing: he might not have the votes necessary to give Rep. Omar the same boot he gave Swalwell and Schiff, as The Hill reported, saying that Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana and Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina have both indicated that they won’t back the move.
Rep. Spartz, in her statement on why she’s against it, said “Two wrongs do not make a right. As I spoke against it on the House floor two years ago, I will not support this charade again.” The “two years ago” line is a reference to when Democrats removed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar from their committee assignments.
Rep. Mace, in her statement on why she would not support removing Rep. Omar, said “I’m not going to be a hypocrite just because Republicans are in the majority now. It’s not been a precedent in Congress to kick people off of their committees because of things that they say, even if you vehemently disagree with those things.”
Rep. Mace did say, however, that she was not a definite “no” and would withhold making a final judgment on the move until the resolution explaining why Omar should be removed is released.
Those two holdouts are a problem for Speaker McCarthy because Democrats have rallied behind Omar, meaning that he needs to rely solely on his party to get the majority vote to remove her from her assignments. With the thin GOP majority in the House, getting a majority vote on anything will be difficult, as seen by his battle to become Speaker of the House.
And while two holdouts would not normally be overly problematic, as the GOP could still skate by with 219 votes, the thinnest of majorities, it’s now a problem because Rep. Greg Steube of Florida, a Republican, fell off a ladder and injured himself, as he posted on Twitter, saying that he was injured and would be recuperating at home in Florida.
One problem for McCarthy in rallying the holdouts is that the justification for removing Omar, “anti-semitism,” is a good bit thinner than the unpardonable indiscretions of Schiff and Swalwell on the House Intelligence Committee. Their removal could be explained as necessary, rather than simply as payback for what the Democrats did to Rep. Greene and Rep. Gosar in 2021.
While most Republicans are fine with just getting payback, whatever the thin justification, Mace and Spartz evidently aren’t, which is why McCarthy is facing an uphill battle in rallying the GOP votes necessary to remove her from her committee.
However, as “anti-semitism” is a charge that carries about as much weight as “racism”, Mace might change her mind rather than face accusations of aiding an “anti-Semite” after McCarthy pieces together past statements Omar has made to justify her removal.
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1
"*" indicates required fields